The Principle Involved
Knowing the principle of air circulation, which is the reason behind not compacting the soil, and also knowing that compacted soil cuts down on growth and production, I should have figured this out years ago. But I didn’t. Dah! (I have a feeling I’m in good company though.)
Try This Approach
Try this approach when transplanting any tiny seedling or even when you‘re potting-up tiny seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other warm weather crops. The same principles apply for larger transplants.
- Place the seedling in the hole where you’re going to plant it.
- Place the dirt around it to fully cover the root.
- Do NOT pack the soil down.
- If the soil is moist (like just after a nice rain) firm it EVER SO GENTLY.
- If the soil is dry, sprinkle with light mulch to just cover everything and THEN water with a sprinkling can. The water will firm the soil enough for good root to soil contact. The mulch will keep the soil from compacting when watered.
This approach helps keep the tiny roots in tact, and also gives the roots the air circulation they need for good growth.
This is basically the same reason we prepare soil deeply to begin with: to allow air circulation within the soil. With oxygen circulating, the beneficial microorganisms in the soil (the soil life) can thrive and do their jobs to help you be successful.
When the soil is compacted and no air can get through, that’s when the bad guys in the soil can thrive.
It’s the very same principle that causes compacted soil to cut down on production of produce by as much as 50%!